I live above a restaurant. What this basically means is that, as long as the weather is nice, I get serenaded about 2-4 times daily. It’s usually twice at lunch and twice at dinner. This seems charming the first time. But it’s been about 5 years now, and I can tell you: they only have about 3 songs in their entire repertoire. I’m not complaining. But you can set a watch by it, and I think by now I could sing all the words to “Besame Mucho” in my sleep. (Why is a song in Spanish one of the 3? I don’t know.)
And not only music, my friends. There is also a mago (magician) in a shiny red suit and top hat, who is my absolute personal neighborhood favorite. He walks around with an electronic bullhorn that he uses to periodically interrupt his magic show with the following (sung):
“A-Oh, A-Oh, Na Na Na Oh.”
Gotta get a picture of him for you one of these days. His “tricks” consist of: a plastic magic wand that a plastic flower pops out of; a Plexiglas box that, when tapped with a magic plastic bone, produces silk handkerchiefs; and a tie that, when stroked, stands on end. But I digress, and this is a G-rated blog (his show is full of “subtle innuendo”). Whenever I see the mago on the streets of my neighborhood, I start singing his catch phrase and he is always kind enough to raise the bullhorn and give me a “shout out.” Love that guy. He once told us he even does weddings (mental note to self: book mago). But he only stops by “our” restaurant once in a blue moon. I guess he has other hot spots in the neighborhood that pay better.
Last summer there was an opera singer. He came by every lunchtime and dinnertime and started up with “O Sole Mio,” completely a cappella. Now that takes guts. So, this was OK, until some neighbor of mine, who to this day remains anonymous, decided he (or she) had had just about enough. Thus began the street war of the opera singer versus the CD of Italian lullabies. It was a bitter feud. Every time Mr. Opera came by, he’d manage only a few notes before Mr. Lullaby put in his CD and cranked up his incredibly powerful stereo system full blast, drowning out “Sannnnnta Cecccilllliaaa” with “Cuckoo! Cuckoo!” and about a half-hour more of children’s music sung in Italian by an overly enthusiastic woman. I think Mr. Lullaby won in the end, because I seldom see Mr. Opera anymore, although he was back about a month ago, for a while, and no children’s music came from any windows…so maybe he’s got his courage back.
Currently there’s a 3-man band that stops by, complete with a bass fiddle. They play some rousing tune and every few beats or so chime in harmony: “OH! CHA CHA!” The dining crowds go wild for them. I continue to hear their bass fiddle in my sleep.
My guests have never complained, probably because it is charming if you’re only here for a few days, and it’s never past about 10 pm, so it never interferes with anyone’s beauty sleep. Plus, my side of the neighborhood isn’t really even the touristy side, so relatively speaking, I don’t get too many entertainers. But if you live here, it does lend a certain “My house must have been built on a stage” atmosphere to your surroundings.
Well, with all this talk about street performers under my very window, how could I not share today’s lunchtime serenade with you? Here was our run-of-the-mill accordion player, bravely avoiding the mini traffic jam that piled up on my cobblestone street, when a mini Italian garbage truck passed through. Ready to sing along?